Rod MacKenzie

Scrapping the Springbok emblem? “Hier kom die Blomme”

It is fairly well known that most swimmer athletes prefer to wear Speedo, not because its gossamer lightness is any different to other swimsuits. It is the deep, psychological association of great success with the brand. The Speedo company can proudly and honestly brag that 70% of swimming medals were won by athletes wearing its…

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Pigs’ brains in a skottel: interviews with the Chinese (Ray)

I despaired as I looked at the editing job in front of me. This being Ray’s response to my interview questions for Chinese people. His English bore some resemblance to a child’s bowl of alphabet soup in which he is thwacking his spoon about among the noodle letters. I did not want to wade through…

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Road Rage in SA blogs

We’ve all been hooted at by cars and motorbikes. Sometimes this happens when you are only a lowly pedestrian. All the commuting equipment I have in the world is my legs and shoes. But it’s a unique experience – the first hundred or so times in China – when you are walking on a sidewalk…

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Ching chong Chinaman & the MRI brain scan

I see the dreaded abbreviation MRI on the medical form. The Shanghaiese lady doctor gives me a worried look after examining me. I couldn’t stand on one leg, kept falling. And my ears ringing all the time, the whine of electronic gnats. People swim in and out of focus. The doctor patters off something to…

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I don’t like bitching but …

I don’t like bitching, but (so sure, here’s the but) if Bruce Cohen in his blog, A nightmare called Nedbank, thinks his banking issues were hell — and they were — try China. We’re in the Stone Age here. Might as well stick your precious shells under a rock in your cave. Huh? Readers might…

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Boerewors and chopsticks: interviews with the Chinese (Janet)

When I write about China, I prefer to keep the topics at a grass-roots level. This is the first in a series of interviews with Chinese people in Shanghai. The first is my 26-year-old Chinese teacher and friend, Wei Qian, English name Janet. Her parents, from Sichuan province, grew up in the Cultural Revolution and…

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New TRC enquiry needed: “corporal punishment” in SA schools

In South African schools “corporal punishment” was not only allowed, it was encouraged. The term is a euphemism filled with denial. The reality was beating the living daylights out of bewildered male children and violating their vulnerable, private space in a sensual manner that bordered on rape. As a result I lived much of my…

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Global meltdown: China’s a cool place to stay

On the whole, mainland Chinese people just don’t do debt. During this global meltdown I visited a Chinese friend’s Korean restaurant the other day in Nanhui, the somewhat rural end of Shanghai, which is an hour and a half commute from where I live. As I walked through the door just before lunch rush hour…

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‘The problem with all you bloody white Sawth Effricens …’

“The problem with all you bloody white Sawth Effricens is that yer all racist but yer’ve all got black blood in you,” Hamish the British journalist cheerily announced to me in Long Bar, a pub with a truly colonial feel to it on West Nanjing Road in Shanghai, near where I live. I winced and…

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Bush’s recession solution: ‘Well, now, looky here, sell Taiwan arms …’

I can just picture this scenario in the Oval Office. “Whaddave we got here?” (says the president in his best Al Pacino tough-cop voice at his 3 024th murder scene) “Ahem, what we’ve got, Mister President, sir, is the need to restructure our definition of values in order to grasp and predict more clearly worsening fluctuations…

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